The Rise of Sintered Stone Slabs for Countertops: A Shift from Quartz and the Impact of Silicosis

In recent years, the countertop industry has witnessed a significant transformation with the emergence of sintered stone slabs as popular alternatives to traditional materials like quartz. This shift can be attributed to various factors, including the advantages offered by sintered stone slabs, and notably, growing concerns over the health risks associated with quartz fabrication, particularly the risk of silicosis.

Understanding Silicosis:

Silicosis is a debilitating and potentially fatal lung disease caused by prolonged exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust, a common byproduct in the fabrication of materials like quartz. Quartz, a mineral abundant in the Earth’s crust, is a popular choice for countertops due to its durability, beauty, and low maintenance. However, the process of cutting, grinding, and shaping quartz into countertops releases fine silica dust into the air, putting workers at risk of inhaling these harmful particles.

Quartz’s Previous Dominance in the Countertop Market:

Before the advent of porcelain slabs and sintered stones, quartz dominated the market for countertops. Its popularity was rooted in several factors:

1. Elegant appearance that often mimicked natural stone, versatility in color and pattern options, and high durability against scratches, stains, and heat.

2. The material demanded minimal maintenance, making it a pragmatic choice for households with busy lifestyles.

3. Unlike natural stone, quartz slabs provided a consistent and uniform appearance, catering to those seeking a seamless and cohesive aesthetic for their kitchen or bathroom spaces.

The Rise of Sintered Stone Countertops: 

On December 13, 2023, the Australian government banned engineered quartz stone (EQS) due to escalating concerns about silicosis. Worries persist that working with lower silica-engineered stone may lead to non-compliance with safety laws, fueled by a misguided perception of inherent safety. With no established safe silica threshold, Australia implemented a complete ban on quartz stone, drawing global attention in the tile industry. Consequently, sintered stone countertops have gained significant popularity as a result.

Five Primary Allures of Sintered Stone:

1. A Safer, Greener Choice

Sintered stone offers a safer and environmentally friendly alternative. Crafted through heat and pressure without the need for resins or plastics, it stands apart from quartz, which relies on petroleum-based resin. With low silica content, sintered stone reduces the risk of silicosis, providing a safer option for spaces and contributing to sustainable construction and design.

2. Unrivalled Durability

Crafted from natural minerals and seamlessly melded through a meticulous process of heating and pressing, sintered stone mirrors the natural formation of stone over time. This results in a versatile and durable material with a touch of nature’s timeless elegance. Moreover, it exhibits outstanding resistance to scratches, stains, and heat, making it a pragmatic choice for countertops.

3. Effortless Maintenance

Sintered stone’s non-porous characteristics make maintenance a breeze, preventing stains and allowing quick cleanup of spills, dirt, and dust. With no need for sealing or specialized maintenance products, it reduces the use of chemicals and water in upkeep, aligning with eco-conscious practices.

4. Versatility Across Environments

Sintered stone proves highly adaptable, finding widespread application in diverse settings. With remarkable UV and cold resistance, it emerges as an excellent choice for outdoor spaces in temperate climates. Its outstanding heat resistance also renders it particularly well-suited for kitchen applications. In contrast to quartz, prone to yellowing or markings under extreme heat, sintered stone retains both its durability and aesthetic appeal.

5. Endless Design Possibilities

Sintered stone offers endless design possibilities, featuring a broad spectrum of colors, patterns, thicknesses, and sizes. This diversity empowers you to effortlessly find an option that aligns with your project’s design vision, adding a creative dimension to your choices.


The countertop industry’s shift towards sintered stone slabs reflects a broader commitment to safety and sustainability. The decline in the usage of quartz highlights the industry’s

responsiveness to health concerns such as silicosis. As consumers prioritize not only style and functionality but also the well-being of those involved in the manufacturing process, the popularity of these innovative materials is likely to continue growing. The evolution of countertop choices underscores the importance of balancing aesthetic preferences with a commitment to creating safer environments for both workers and consumers.

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